Diana Taurasi is looking for her sixth gold medal at the Paris Olympics

July 10, 2024
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It was 20 years ago that Diana Taurasi first got called up to the senior national basketball team. She was still a senior at UConn, but it wasn’t long before she was preparing for her first Olympics.

“The first one is always the most exciting one. You know, I was just out of college, I was the youngest on the team and everything was brand new,” said Taurasi. “I was just excited to be there. I was learning from all the vets.”

Now, Taurasi is one of the veterans bridging exciting eras in women’s basketball.

“It’s definitely been a shift, sometimes I’m having lunch with the coaches because I’m closer in age with them, which is pretty funny, but it’s a great cast of young, just superstars, and they are just unbelievable basketball players,” said Taurasi.

Stream every moment and every medal of the 2024 Paris Olympics on Peacock, starting with the Opening Ceremony July 26 at 12 p.m. ET.

“She’s seen everything in every game, has done everything in every game, every scenario,” said Team USA Head Coach Cheryl Reeve.

“What Dee brings to the table is just obviously experience, leadership. You know, she’s one of the greatest to ever do it,” said Olympic teammate and fellow Huskie Breanna Stewart.

Taurasi has won three collegiate championships, three WNBA titles, and five Olympic gold medals — tied with another fellow Huskie, Sue Bird, for most ever by a basketball player.

Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury watches the ball
Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury.Steph Chambers / Getty Images

“It was always pretty special to be able to do it with your best friend. You don’t get to say that in life very often when it comes to business and your work, but I was lucky enough to do five Olympics with my best friend,” Taurasi said of Bird.

She says their time at Connecticut played a role in their success on the worldwide stage.

“There’s just a synergy of doing it the right way. And I think we learned that in Connecticut. That’s why you see so many Huskies on the national team,” she said.

“The ability to kind of share the floor with her is an honor for, for all of us,” said Stewart.

Now that Bird has retired, Taurasi is flying solo as team leader. Reeve knows she can handle it.

“I like to call it a rabbit, if you will, that younger players need someone to, to chase in terms of how you do things. And D has been always at the top,” said Reeve.

As exciting new talent joins the team, she reflects on her journey.

More Olympics from NBC News

“You know, I think back on, how I was when I was 25 and how I am now, I’m much calmer. So, I guess that’s the lesson of getting older is you’re a little bit more calmer and I think that just comes with leaning on that experience. And the only reason I’m playing right now is because I have two kids. Because they’ve made me better, focused on the things I need to get done to make sure I go home and be the person I want to be.”

A calm presence will be vital, as Team USA faces the pressure of winning an eighth straight gold medal.

“It takes a lot of sacrifice. It takes a lot of heart. There’s something about putting this jersey on that brings the best out of you as a teammate, as an athlete, as a coach. And those things aren’t easy. And we’re going to try to do it again,” said Taurasi.

If she can help team USA win it all, she’ll have the most gold medals of any basketball player in history.

Taurasi said a moment from her freshman year at UConn stuck with her. Coach Geno Auriemma called her into his office, after two seniors were hurt.

“He tells me, ‘There’s no age to be great.’ So, now being 41, I tell myself all the time, ‘There is no age to be great,’” she said. “So here we are.”



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